Life Lesson for the Day: Why is Grief a Part of Everyday Life?

Change, transition, grief, loss: we often lump these words together in one amorphous meaning.

Yet have you ever thought about the difference between these words and how they interact with each other in our daily lives?

Grief is a part of everyday life but we don’t always recognize it as such. There is a huge connection between change, loss and grief.

As part of our Age Without Borders mission to bring a fresh approach to education, I sat down with Jane Barton, Ambassador for AARP Colorado, author of Caregiving for the GENIUS, a passionate national speaker, writer, and listener, and founder of Cardinal, LLC, offering educational programs, books, videos, and podcasts.

“We are changing every day at the cellular level, and that’s called aging,” jokes Barton. “But every day we have changes that mean little endings. And sometimes we have big endings. And an ending means that we lose something or someone. When we have that sensation of loss we have the natural response of grief – our emotional response to loss. Mourning is how we process those losses into the fabric of our being.”

Barton explains that in the aftermath of change - we are actually experiencing a transition moving from what was to what will be. It can be a daunting journey as most of us don’t like the Unknown and we always want to go back- but that’s not an option.

Whether it is the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, a relationship - a loss of hope - it doesn’t mean you can’t reclaim something in the future- but it’s going to be a little bit different,” said Barton.

Grief does not dissipate with time, but only goes away when we confront it and deal with it.

Even the act of simply naming it can be an A-Ha moment. When there is an overload of changes and moments of grief that hasn’t been addressed, it may be misdiagnosed as depression- when in fact it is simply grief that needs to be recognized in order to let go.

Sharing our stories is one way to allow daily changes to wash through us. In business there is the ritual called “Plus/Delta” to debrief what worked and what can be changed.

Many families share a dinner ritual of “Roses and Thorns” to share one good thing that happened that day, and one difficult thing.

Listen here for a quick highlight of Jane's wisdom.

How do you process change, transition and grief in your life on a regular basis? What rituals do you have to help manage the harder moments in life of loss and mourning?

We’d love to hear in your comments on our Facebook Page.

This week, we will be focusing on "Conversations that Matter." Each day we will send a free lesson from experts around the world. We hope you enjoy.

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kari henley